Franco Paterno was born and raised in southern Italy, in a region known for its pristine waters, and continual sunshine, where all typical Mediterranean foods grow abundantly.
He was heavily influenced by his family's business which managed growing and production of figs olives, grapes for wine making, as well as many other fruits and vegetables.
Franco immigrated to Rhode Island as a young teen, and soon thereafter began working in a small family owned Italian restaurant, where he was introduced to the restaurant industry.
As a young culinarian, he received training in many different venues, His education ranged from an apprenticeship in a classical French restaurant, a stage in a summer resort in Sibari, to the formal culinary program at Johnson and Wales University. Franco's training intensified when he worked a season at The Green Briar Hotel, a world class resort, as well as a season at the Everglades Country Club in Palm Beach Florida.
In 1980 began assuming some Chef responsibility when he was recruited as the sous-chef of the Tremont Hotel, a small boutique Hotel in the heart of Downtown Chicago. At the Tremont, he worked for Chef Guy Petit, a well renowned French chef and Franco was able to perfect many of the previously acquired skills.
After 3 years at the Tremont he was again recruited by one of his former chefs, to become executive Chef of a newly opened contemporary, American restaurant called Michelle's in downtown Atlanta, Ga. In just one year, the restaurant became one of Atlanta's best restaurants, and continued to enjoy a great reputation during his tenure.
In 1985, looking to return to the New England area, accepted the position of executive chef of the Marriott Providence.
Over the years, many significant changes have occurred at the Marriott. Repositioning the hotels dining choices from meat and potatoes, buffet centered dining room to a more a la carte centered, fine dining menu offering. The current hotel restaurant, Bluefin Grille has a casual elegance atmosphere; serving locally inspired and responsibly caught seafood.
Over the years, Franco and his team have been responsible for many local accolades including:
- Several, newspaper article which featured positive reviews of the Blufin Restaurant - Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly, Providence Phoenix, GoLocalProv.com, Providence Monthly
- Articles Featuring Chef Franco and Holidays food offerings
- Recipient of many past city wide food festivals award including
-- Best creative pasta dish
-- Best creative calamari
-- People's Choice Award -- Best Chili - International Chili Society's Rhode Island State Cook-Off
-- AQUA -- Voted Best Outdoor Lounge in Rhode Island
- Franco has also been featured on The Rhode Show, a local TV Morning program.
- Franco has been invited as a guest on several morning talk radio programs
- Interviewed by Bruce Newbury - The "Food Dude" Radio Personality